--oil on canvas, 2003. (The Apprentice comes to the Lake View: Andrei Petrov, the artist who was so successfully sold by one team on TV's The Apprentice, painted this on commission for us just months before he became wildly famous for his far more abstract work.)
John C.T. Hayes:
Once again the only thing exceeding the graciousness of the accommodations was the hospitality, wit and charm of the inhabitants. --guestbook, July 28, 2003
--journal, August 2002
LVH, pencil on paper, 2002
Arlington National Cemetery, 4/28/06
(Click on pix to Enlarge)
celebrating Bill Sr's life, 4.28.06
Ode to Bill Horne Sr. (my father)
Father, friend, husband, uncle, in your too swift passage
you've touched us all.
and always humble,
but thank you, Dad, for standing so tall.
For you journeyed through life
as one big adventure,
fighting to make your mark.
Out West, back East,
and on the Hudson
did glitter your restless spark.
A fixer you were
in your many guises
striving to make things just right.
Bays and rivers,
bicycles and houses
you could fix a car,
you could fix a kite.
And through it all
you taught us priceless lessons,
the virtues of hard work
and hewing to the truth.
Of never giving up
and dreaming BIG dreams,
whether in later years, or in the bloom of youth.
To the very end,
you grappled with life
engaging in that honorable fight,
And you beat the odds
time and again, 'til came inevitable night.
So rest for a bit now, my father,
enjoy some sweet peace,
then soar, where you will.
Take solace and comfort
in our love for you
Godspeed, Dad, and
--Bill Horne Jr.
Stories of a Life
Bill Sr. didn't talk much about himself for the first 70 years of his life, but with semi-retirement and the cajoling of his kids he did begin telling a few stories, and we even prevailed upon him to write a few up: here you go, from the late great William W. Horne Sr.:
NEW DOG IN THE BARN
When I was two-plus my father, mother, brother and I lived in Caldwell, Idaho, in a small house behind the Nazarene church. Horses hadn't been removed from the scene for too many years, and a great barn for housing such beasts, a buggy and a supply of hay, remained on the back of our lot. The horse was gone, and our steed was a Model T Ford automobile. On this greatest of all days I heard my dad's car pull into the barn and ran out to meet him. We talked a bit, and then he told me to go take a look in the barn. I did only to behold this thing of glory--a pure white ball of fur, my first dog. Of course there was a partial claim by my brother, but I knew Jiggs was my own. The name was probably my brother Sam's contribution, because he was six years older and could read the funny papers.
From the beginning Jiggs was a pert, feisty, lovable animal. Half and half, fox terrier and spitz, he had most of the undesirable traits--a grown ups view--of each, never declining a fight, and often carried from the field of battle, streaming blood over his whiteness. That animal was my favorite companion for 13 years. There has never been another quite like him.
In 1926 in Caldwell, on Armistice Day the local National Guard unit was the centerpiece of a giant community parade. A friend of my parents was a Captain in the Guard and always took part in the festivities. I was two years old and much taken with the military. The friend had given me an old uniform hat, and on the "Day" I stood along the parade route, with the hat precariously balanced on an undersized head, waiting breathlessly for "the Army" to pass. They did, and drawing parallel, the Captain saluted me with his saber. I will never forget that sunny, first-parade day in Caldwell.
April 12, 1997
THE NAZARENE AND TOY CARS
While we lived in Caldwell, my dad sold coffee house-to-house for the Caswell Coffee Company of Spokane, Washington, and as a result was an independent operator, in need of a storage area for his stock of coffee. Thus we rented a small house with a barn, just across the alley from the Nazarene church. The minister of that church, and his family, lived next door, and in the family was a boy my age, who became a good friend. There were no parks or playgrounds nearby, so our major area for playing "cars" was an embankment between the houses. This embankment was created and remained a part of the irrigation system by which all of the lawns were flooded. It carried the ditch.
With the diligent application of strength and ingenuity the embankment became an intricate system of graded roads on which we ran our two cars. Mine was a cast iron Mack truck about six inches long, and painted bright red; his was a pressed metal coupe painted a glowing yellow. These were unusual colors for motor vehicles which, in those days, were mostly black. This story has no great surprise ending, but after some 70 years, the feel of digging those roads, in that berm, and seriously debating the merit of pressed steel versus cast iron, remains with me. We soon moved to the mining camps, and I have always wondered what happened to that boy.
William W. Horne April 12, 1997
AN INCENTIVE TO MOVE
We, the Hornes, were living in Placerville, Idaho, in the winter of 1928, when the croup was a common ailment. Children seemed particularly subject to this miserable disease, so the women of the community had worked out a "cure". This may have been based on experience, or it may have come from some contact with a doctor in Boise, some 50 miles away. Anyway, the accepted cure was to put the child in bed, form a tent of sheets, and then place an electric hotplate with pot of water under the tent, to one side of the bed, and steam the ailment out of the patient. I caught a case of the croup in the winter of '28, and was subjected to the "known" cure. I crawled into the single cot, the electric hotplate was placed on a small table next to the bed, a pot of water was placed on the hotplate, and the whole thing was fired up. Things went swimmingly well until I tossed the covers to one side and upset the pot. Boiling water gushed over me, creating a serious 1st degree burn on the inner surface of my right thigh. Pandemonium reigned. The nearest doctor was in Boise, and this case proved to be far beyond the experience of the neighborhood mothers. My parents weighed the pros and cons and decided that an immediate movement of the patient to Boise was called for. They did that, and I wound up in St. Lukes Hospital in Boise, where their burn unit was probably not the best, but it sufficed. The treatment of choice at that time was tannic acid which was poured liberally over the burn area, about one square foot in size. It rather immediately formed a very thick, black scab. I lived, the scab disappeared, and only a large scar reminds me of the incident. However, my being in the hospital in Boise, was the cause of a great social upset for the family. Because they wanted to be near me, the whole family moved lock, stock, and barrel down from the mountains, thus ending our relationship with the mining industry. While this whole thing was fairly painful to a little kid, the outcome was undoubtedly beneficial to the family. We were among civilized people for the first time.
William W. Horne
April 20, 1997
OF FISH AND POLITICS
Fifty seven years ago, give or take a month or so, a little after 7 a.m. in the morning, two 12-year-olds headed north from Moyie, British Colombia, on the tracks of the Canadian Pacific Railroad, loaded down with fishing gear and lunch, and with an eye towards adventure. The Moyie River ran along one side, and steep evergreen-clad mountains dropped down almost to the banks of the stream, in some places barely leaving only room for the tracks. Cool, damp fir smell pervaded the crystal clear air. Mike was a Cipriani, parents from Italy, newly come to Canada; Bill was a Horne, with many generations of poor, but independent and assumed to be honest, relatives who succeeded those who took the boat trip from England which eventually led them to the mountains of North Carolina--an American.
Now this is a tale of two stories, so I want to set you straight: The primary tale is of fish, trout to be more accurate, while the secondary tale is that of politics of a world shaking sort, involving a dictator, a few democrats and happenings that eventually changed the world forever.
About six miles upstream into Canada, the Little Moyie came in from the West and our two adventurers took that fork, left the tracks, and proceeded up game trails alongside what had every appearance of being a stream that was full of deep holes, where monster trout must lurk, and one where no fisherman had previously cast a line. This latter conclusion was strongly supported by the complete lack of fisherman trash normally found along stream-side paths.
Setup took only minutes, attesting to the powerful urge to fish, and perhaps the primitive nature of the boy's gear, and earnest casting began. The holes were indeed deep and full of voraciously hungry trout, and the riffles were equally productive. All-in-all it was, as remembered after a half-century lapse of time, absolutely the best fishing man has ever enjoyed. The red-striped beauties flopped glistening from the crystal water, and the bags filled. A major decision was reached at mid-morning to keep only the larger fish; now that is the kind of heart-constricting conflict of desire that this pair had not been previously faced with--a super abundance of fish, all of whom were highly interested in being caught, and a strictly limited capacity to transport. Even so, after a leisurely lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, the world's best food, these two freshly inducted Waltons, assuming Waltons were those who caught large numbers of fish and didn't just talk about it, had to decide whether to continue fishing, and release the newly caught, or head for home. The only possible decision was to continue fishing.
Well, this sporting event went on all afternoon, with a lot of boisterous comment on the size and numbers of trout brought to net, probably somewhat exaggerated because of the throw-back decision. And thus ended a perfect day, or it should have ended there. But three miles of game trails and the six miles of railroad track remained to be traversed before the boys could begin their serious bragging, and that tramp back to town is when world politics cast a black mantel on the day's entertainment.
The sun was down, the evening had cooled and the game trails passed into railroad country. The fish weighed a ton, so the distracting subject of Mussolini was welcome when Mike mentioned that he and the dictator were both Italian. Bill said something about the Italian army in North Africa using tanks to kill natives who were armed with spears (this broad grasp of foreign affairs had come from the eighth grade Weekly Reader, a thought provoking, and always liberal, newspaper, sold to grade school youngsters to, I assume, encourage them to have an interest in the news of the day). Whether the source was biased or not, young Bill had developed a deep-felt dislike for the fascists of Europe, a feeling which has not abated to this day. Unfortunately, Mike Cipriani was clutching at a small whiff of fame and fortune--being an Italian while Il Duce was conquering the world, or some part of it. He had little interest in Bill's cogent arguments concerning democracy vs. dictatorships, and this breach widened with every mile of trackage hiked. By this time it was pitch dark, which only added to the fury of the disagreement, and by the time the village lights hove into sight, Mike and Bill were sworn enemies. Only the weight of the fish and near exhaustion prevented them from resorting to that final form of decision making the world has ever honored in lieu of reason.
As Bill arrived home the red flags of argument faded and the glories of the fishing trip swam back into view. There was the formal viewing of the catch, with all of the appropriate oohs-and-ohs bringing back the wonder of the day, the dappled sunlight among the trees, the glistening trout as they leapt into the sunlight, which then flashed on the million beads of water, and remembrance of the wondrous piney smell of the forest as the ex-friends partook of the peanut butter sandwiches.
People take their politics seriously, God only knows for what reason at any particular time, but they do, and in this case, they did. The summer ended without a break in the hostility between the fishermen, times changed, they changed, but there was never another fishing day like that, and Mike and Bill never spoke again.
William W. Horne
December 17, 1996
THERE WAS NO BRIDGE
The East Poplar River (a river in name only) meandered down through the high plains from Canada into Montana and to the Missouri. On the Canadian border there was no bridge, but a need to cross. My old Model T Ford was high wheeled but no match for most of the river. However, about a quarter mile south of our place there was a ford. Now a ford can be a lot of things. This one was only a lot of things in different months of the year. In the winter it was frozen solid with all of the safety of solid ice to the bottom. In the summer the water got down to a trickle, and the ford was only tire deep. But in the fall and spring things weren't fixed and the water could be anywhere from tire deep to almost complete submersion. We knew the river and its notions, and normally had a pretty good idea of whether the old ford was passable or not. But one beautiful, bright, crystal spring day the 15-year-old hunting party arrived at the crossing with no time to spare for unnecessary consideration. Into the river we went, but not far. The T model began a lifetime-like slide into submersion, and before anything could be done to bring things to a halt, we were marooned in the middle of the stream in about four feet of water, with a dead engine. No problem wading ashore, and no real problem getting a neighbor's tractor to pull the T-model out. But oh what a mess getting the engine and running gear dried out and back into working condition. This taught me a lesson--hunting or not, judge the depth of water before you plunge in. 1998
TO THE MINING CAMPS AND HANG THE CAR
In 1926, my dad's coffee business in Caldwell, Idaho, was languishing, while the gold and silver mines in the mountains were booming. Because Dad had spent many years running ball mills and flotation tables in western precious-metal mills, he was offered a job in Placerville, Idaho, some 50 miles up in the Rockies above Caldwell. So we packed our scanty belongings in the Model T Ford and headed for the hills.
Now the mountain roads at that time were not paved, in fact they were not really graveled. Contractors had cut those roads for wagons by using horse drawn slips. The idea had been to scrape a road, passable in clement weather by a team of horses pulling a wagon, at a slow pace. There were almost no fills, so the trail wound around the face of the mountain, ever upward until the pass was reached, and then a repeat performance on the far side. This kind of construction left a roadway that was narrow (one vehicle wide), full of large rocks, and totally without guardrails along drops several hundred feed deep. At points along the way a widened area left room for passing. It was the responsibility of the vehicle proceeding downhill to back to the nearest passing area upon meeting someone coming uphill. Signs now and again warned drivers to sound their Klaxon (horn) when approaching tight, blind curves. Little improvements had been made to these roads since the advent of the automobile and, one other small problem, logging trucks used the roads and they had no means of stopping on a downhill grade.
In our heading for the hills, and the new job for Dad, we were about halfway to Placerville, banging over the boulders, when something snapped in the Ford's rear end. A truck came along and towed us into the only settlement in those parts. Fortunately an expert mechanic had set up shop in an old barn, and was willing to take on the needed repairs.
In my mind, as a three-year-old, we were in that waystop for several days. What I distinctly remember was a night, lit by flares, and our car hanging by its back end from an old chain hoist while the mechanic banged, filed, sawed, and welded as the factory approved repairs were made. There was a lot of excitement in that trip and the night vision, and it sticks with me till this day. April 12, 1997
with Jiggs, 1928 [Click to ENLARGE]
w/ Betty Lou Kyle, 1939
Frat Brothers 1942
in civvies, 1945
w/ Nancy 1956
w/ mom and Daniel, 1963
w/ Bill jr. & Kate, 1961
w/ Charlie in E Quogue
WWH Sr. with Will, 80th BDay
Headed to St . Andrew's Society
A DAY AT BASTOGNE
It was in the last half of December, 1944, and General George Patton, commander of the Third United States Army, had apparently told a meeting of generals that he could smash a major German offensive, historically referred to as the Battle of the Bulge, and was prepared to do so within 48 hours. All of this I learned well after the fact. At the time Patton's offer was accepted it resulted in my being suddenly swept across northern France as a small cog in the rapid redeployment of the 4th and the 6th Armored divisions. The objective was Bastogne, where the 101st Airborne and sundry armored elements had created an immense deterrent to German success by occupying that crucial road junction. The gallant action of the defenders of Bastogne would be for naught unless relief was immediate. I was a twenty year old Sergeant in the 9th Armored Infantry of the 6th Armored Division. We had a half-track full of gasoline, ammunition, rations and an extremely! large and cantankerous goose. The latter to be our Christmas dinner if circumstances permitted. The "track" held one squad of infantry, and the crated goose, with head and neck extended, which required a large free area because of the nature of its very long neck, extremely sharp beak and burning desire to do damage to its captors. All of this made the trip seemingly endless--cold steel bottom, freezing steel sides and top open to the wintry skies. Thus, there was ample cold and little offsetting heat. It is true; however, that a modicum of exercise and warmth was generated through the constant need to dodge that beak of the main course of our much- anticipated Christmas dinner.
Two armored divisions roaring down the narrow French roads, tracks clanking, engines howling, and eventually, gunfire crashing, were awesome in their aura of power. I could only think that woe-betide the Germans that had to stand up to the invincibility of those flaming monsters. Of course the Germans probably entertained similar thoughts about their own armor.
The steep rise of the heavily wooded mountains, and snow-blocked roads made life unbearably difficult, but finally the 4th Division smashed into the German lines. They were completely unexpected, and burst through the defenses and into Bastogne. The 6th followed the tracks of the 4th through the gap in the enemy lines, and fanned out on the far side of town. And that is the locale of this small personal story.
The half-tracks with our blankets, overcoats, and most of the food, aboard, dumped us off and headed back to town. Goodbye goose. The infantry did what infantry has done since the time of Caesar, and probably before. We sent out scouts, and laid out a defensive perimeter. As we scurried to find suitable German holes in which to hide, a string of mortar rounds fell into our position. I was second from the bottom as five men sought the protection of one foxhole. It is amazing how small you can become when need be. I can attest, though, that the weight of the three above became almost unbearable before they could be induced to seek other quarters.
Now we had great confidence in General Patton, who had a tendency to be right, but somewhere down the long chain of command someone had failed to realize that maps were required in order to give the troops on the ground at least a faint idea of the lay of the land. We had none. I asked the Lieutenant, who spoke to the Captain, who appealed to the Major. No maps. Still assuming we knew where the Germans were, we strengthened our perimeter, dug in our machine guns facing northwest and settled down for a freezing night. There was really no need to be concerned about locating the enemy--they found us. With dawn came first a rousing burst of mortar rounds followed by the rapid chatter of machine guns. Thus clearly informed as to which direction to go, we formed up an attack straight to the rear of our dug in positions. Maps can be very helpful, but I suppose a feel for hill and dale is still a soldier's best friend.
This was a country of low, forest-covered mountains, with 8 to 15 inches of snow to slog around in. The Germans were well dug in, and as we pushed them back they had every hill and draw carefully taped for fire control. After several days of constant firefights we were severely mauled. My squad was down to two, and the other fellow was limping badly (He was subsequently went to the rear with prisoners.)
By January 3, 1945, the battalion was strung out along a tree line, down from which stretched a snowfield into the bottom that in summer undoubtedly contained a small creek (this was the platoon action area). On the far side of the creek bottom, open snow covered slopes led up to our objective, another tree line that was in the hands of the Germans. Scouts had identified the enemy as an SS Panzer unit, the scourge of the German military, and noted for taking no prisoners. The Captain sought artillery and tank support, but none was available. Just before noon one squad jumped off, only to be pinned down with severe losses along the creek bottom. Then there was a short period of dead silence, followed by the crack of a single shot from our position. The word came down the line that our company clerk had shot himself--why? Clerks don't accompany rifle companies in frontal assaults, so he would not have been called upon to leave that marvelously deep Germa! n foxhole. Who knows?
Shortly after noon, two more squads made it into the creek bottom, but were again pinned down by withering small arm, machine gun and 88mm-artillery fire. About 2:00 p.m., two light tanks came up on our right, and the remainder of the platoon, including the rifle squad I had fallen in with, left the cover of the tree line, and joined the tanks in a frontal assault on the hill. In order to keep your undivided attention while spinning the remainder of this personal story, I will let you know now that this assault, along with those conducted by the other platoons of the Battalion, resulted in a virtual annihilation of the opposing panzer unit. (General Patton, in his postwar book, said that this was the only action of significance on January 3, 1945. It's nice to be mentioned, even obliquely, in history.)
It was a cloudy day, in fact sufficiently overcast that there would be no air support, but ground visibility was excellent for the distance between the warring factions, and I even felt a bit exhilarated (along with a heavy dose of terror) as we fixed bayonets and jumped off. The going was slow but most of us made it into the creek bottom. As we started up the far side, one of our light tanks moved slowly along the German line, out at a distance of approximately 200 yards. It was foolhardy for the tanker to expose his light side-armor in this manner, but I took advantage of it by remaining in the cover provided by the tank as I ran up the hill. We gradually converged on the German line, then the tanker must have realized his vulnerability, spun on one track, and faced the oncoming fire with his frontal armor. Problem was, I was left standing in front of the Germans, at about 100 yards; a sitting duck. Almost immediately, a tremendous blow struck me on ! the left arm, spinning me around and down on the snowfield. By that time the Germans were giving it their all, in an attempt to stop the advance. GIs were falling everywhere, some killed, many wounded, and probably not a few using good judgement in getting down out of the rifle and machine gun fire. Hugging the ground didn't offer any protection, though, from the searching rounds of mortars and artillery, which for the remainder of the afternoon continued to pound the hillside.
I was hit; the worst fear of all infantrymen. And because our unit situation remained extremely precarious there was little chance that any help would be along for some time. It was also becoming progressively colder as dusk came on. I had managed to get my chemical-warfare plastic-cover out of its pack, unfolded, and spread on the snow under me. Although a combat medic had stopped and hastily slapped a bandage on my wound, his efforts hadn't done the job, and there seemed to be an almost unrestricted flow of blood. It pooled under me and chilled as the temperature dropped. I tried to tie a tourniquet above the wound, with no success. A dozen of us, dead or wounded, were lying in fairly close proximity, probably the area where the Germans obtained their first line of direct fire as we came up the hill. As the afternoon waned, I began to feel woozy. Small arms fire from above couldn't reach us, but even the slightest movement drew immediate sniper fire,! and from time to time artillery rounds swept the hillside. By about 4 o'clock the fight had moved on up the slope and into the woods. I watched a wounded lieutenant get slowly to his feet and lurch down the hill. A crack of the snipers rifle, and he was dead. Others tried to crawl away, but were either wounded or killed by the sniper, who obviously had an excellent field of fire.
As dusk came on, the cold became more and more intense. There was a marked decrease in the moans of the wounded, and it was amply obvious that I had to find a way out, and soon. About this time, two medics, wild with fear (for good reason), scrambled down the hill, headed for the rear. As they came sloshing through the snow I yelled that I needed assistance. They stopped and said that they were on the way out. I mustered my strongest arguments, insisting that they take me with them, pointing out that they could be shot for cowardice for running from the field of battle, but also pointing out that none of this would happen if they were helping a wounded soldier. They finally agreed to take me, if I wouldn't be too much of an impediment. I assured them that I was capable of walking with only a little assistance, struggled to my feet, and, with a medic on each side, slipped and slid toward the creek bottom, angling off towards where we thought there might! be a road and transport. It was dark by this time, so we didn't fear sniper fire, but artillery rounds continued to explode all around us. After one such barrage, during which I felt a ripping through my clothes, I found that my jackets and shirts were in shreds. Fortunately none of us received a scratch. For two miles or so those medics dragged me along, dropping to the ground when shells exploded nearby, but immediately hauling me back to my feet and on down the mountain.
Jubilation, we finally stumbled onto a road. The medics flagged down a medical jeep, where they hoisted me up on a stretcher for a wild ride to battalion aid. There, chaos prevailed--wounded; dying and dead GIs were all over the place. The battalion surgeon and the medics were doing their best to apply sufficient patches to enable the ambulance crews to load up and head back behind the lines. My combat jacket and shirts were cut off and everyone had a macabre laugh at the shell damage. A medic went through my pockets and handed me a small pocket Bible and a notebook, both of which had jagged tears from shell fragments. I was hastily bandaged and propelled into an another ambulance. Off we went--cold, dark, crowded--down a slippery mountain road and eventually onto blacktop. By this time I was leaking blood again and feeling groggier and groggier. Finally I got the soldier near the cab to scream at the driver that we needed to stop soon. The driver cut ! off on another road, and swept into a field hospital. I was dragged out of the ambulance, the doors closed, and my buddies went on to God knows where. I recall entering a large brightly lit room, falling, and sometime later awakening on a table, as doctors and nurses were stabbing away at my left arm and replacing lost blood. Uppermost in my mind was food. After a number of strongly stated requests, a nurse managed to scare up a scrambled egg sandwich, which I could only stare at.
Within hours I left the field hospital, very groggy from whatever painkillers were dispensed, and in due course landed in large hospital on a hill in Paris. From thence onto an English hospital train, a cross-Channel boat, an English-hospital train again, and finally to an American hospital on the Welsh border. Housed in steel Quonset huts, surrounded by lovely English and Welsh girls and snow, it all seemed like an unscheduled trip to heaven. In fact it was. ¨